This wasn’t exactly what the team was looking for at the tournament.
Yes, there are five wrestlers moving on to the NCAA Championships at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena in two weeks. But there will be no individual champions and not even anyone in the finals. Even the two semifinalists dropped to one as Nick Suriano took a medical default.
We’ll do a full post-tournament summary, but for now let’s look at Sunday’s wrestlebacks.
Session III: Wrestlebacks
The session started out in an interesting fashion with two wrestlers competing completely for themselves. Both Mike Van Brill (141) and Nick Gravina (184) had been knocked out of the tournament in Session II. Neither earned an automatic bid to Cleveland due to the number of allocations the Big Ten had and their losses on Saturday. But they still could earn at-large bids and so they both wrestled for their own record and to build their resumes.
At 141, Michael Van Brill won by Medical Forfeit over No. 6 Tommy Thorn and moved on to wrestle No. 7 Cole Weaver (Indiana) for ninth; Van Brill drops a 5-0 decision. At 184, No. 5 Nick Gravina advanced to the 9th-place match with a 8-2 decision over Max Lyon (Purdue). He took on Mitch Sliga (Northwestern) for ninth - and more credibiity with the NCAA committee - and won by fall. Always a good way to end!!
184 | BOOM! No. 5 Nicholas Gravina pins Mitch Sliga (Northwestern) for the win! He finishes ninth at Big Ten's! pic.twitter.com/2uunlzy1PR— Rutgers Wrestling (@RUWrestling) March 4, 2018
Both will have to wait for the committee to award at-large bids. Gravina had a No. 9 place in the last coaches’ panel; there will be four at-large bids at 184. Six additional spots will be awarded at 141.
Scott DelVecchio was still in the running for third place when he stepped on the mat to face Minnesota’s Mitch McKee. McKee kept getting takedowns and eventually won, 8-5, putting DelVecchio into the fifth place match against Nebraska’s Jason Renteria who he lost to in the quarters, 3-1.
Four seed Richie Lewis took on two seed Alex Marinelli of Iowa. In a stunning finish, Lewis got two in the closing seconds to win. He faced Evan Wick (Minnesota) for third.
Richie Lewis scores in the final seconds to beat Alex Marinelli. pic.twitter.com/SNKGYUkB2S— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) March 4, 2018
In seventh place bouts, No. 8 John Van Brill lost by fall to No. 7 Jake Short (Minnesota) and No. 6 Eleazar DeLuca lost by fall to No. 9 Steve Bleise (Minnesota). Both qualified for the NCAAs, despite the losses.
Upcoming in Session IV
133: For 7th Place - DelVecchio vs Jason Renteria of Nebraska
165: For 3rd Place - Lewis vs. Evan Wick of Wisconsin
On the radio
I’m a WRSU alum. But that bias aside, I have to say that the student radio station at Rutgers has done a really great job covering wrestling. It isn’t easy describing a sport that is very fluid - and sometimes chaotic - on radio. But listening to them occasionally, including from East Lansing this weekend, has been a great experience. Well done, men!